The Montreal Canadiens longtime scapegoat appears to have switched a mere 23 games into the 2023-24 season.
Joel Armia had long been the guy who showed flashes of brilliance that would get fans out of their seats. Be it a hat trick that was spur-of-the-moment, almost like once in a blue moon. Before and after the career night, Armia would go right back to being the guy who was a step behind, looking disinterested in the play.
Now, it is Josh Anderson who seemingly can’t buy a goal this season. His frustration boiled over last night as he dropped the mitts with Florida Panthers forward Jonah Gadjovich.
The most frustrating part of the equation is the ability both players possess to just take over games for the Canadiens. Both are 6’3” and 215-plus lbs and they can dominate with their combination of size and strength. Holding defenders off on their backs, while they dash through the neutral zone, they both do it, albeit sporadically.
You can deal with the failed reads here and there, but when the negatives consistently outweigh the positives, the team suffers. Such is the current case with Anderson and very much the same one that Armia had dealt with just a season ago. Armia has bounced around between Laval and the Habs this year, but it feels as though he has turned a slight corner.
Anderson, however, looks like a Porsche with all-season tires sliding on black ice. He hasn’t been able to find any traction on the ice. And Armia has swooped in, and been that old and reliable vehicle with Pirelli winter tires. He looks like the Swiss Army knife player, who is a good fit in the bottom six.
It’s a weird world that we live in, and circumstances change quickly. But the weirdest thing of all is that Armia has long been the guy that we all wanted to be traded or demoted. Now Anderson is free-falling, and the two have switched places.
Anderson can’t do anything to buy a goal, might be time for him to write down a goal on his Christmas list. Santa Claus has kept an eye on Armia, and because of the good play he has been showing, he has gotten an early gift of playing on the Canadiens. Injuries have played into both players’ hands, with increased ice time.
One player has taken the increased minutes and made the best of them. The other player is Anderson, who needs to get back on the train. All steam ahead, it’s time for the powerhorse to keep straight ahead on the tracks.
Armia playing better than Anderson, what a very weird time that is upon us.
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